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Recall petition rejected

September 10, 2008
By Dionna Harris -

ESCANABA - A petition seeking the recall of four members of the Gladstone School Board was rejected during a clarity hearing Tuesday.

The petition, filed by the Committee to Improve Gladstone Schools, cited "fiscal irresponsibility and educationally unsound decision-making, both of which negatively impact the students and staff of the Gladstone School District."

Clarity hearing committee members Delta County Probate Judge Robert Goebel, Delta County Clerk Nancy Kolich and Delta County Treasurer Sandra Buckland rejected the petition's wording for lack of clarity for voters.

Goebel said in voting for the denial that "the petition's wording is not specific concerning acts taken by those named in the petition."

A new contract between the teachers union and the school board was reached following 15 months of negotiations, with the aid of a Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) mediator. A fact-finding hearing was conducted in April, with the results of the fact finder's report having been released in July.

The recall petition filed by the committee was based upon the recent contract negotiations between the members of the Gladstone School Board and the Gladstone Education Association.

Escanaba Attorney Paul Strom addressed the clarity board on behalf of Steve O'Driscoll, Gary Micheau, Gloria O'Donnell and Linda Howlett, who were named on the recall petition by the committee.

"It is my wish that this is at an end, and that we can move on," said O'Driscoll following the hearing. "We are all pleased that the determination of the clarity hearing board was to reject the petition as it was unclear. It is also untrue."

Speaking on behalf of the Committee to Improve Gladstone Schools during the clarity hearing was Sandra Walker of the Michigan Education Association.

Walker said the committee intends to refile the petition as soon as possible.

"We are of course disappointed with the decision, and we continue to feel strongly a need to move forward on the recall," said Walker.

Walker said work on a new recall petition has started and would include changes requested by the clarity hearing panel.

"I would expect to file the new petition by Sept. 19 with the Delta County Clerk's office," said Walker.



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